Friday, November 20, 2009

Prayer 11: resources for leaders

Not long ago, a friend asked for some book recommendations about prayer-- specifically, about the Lord’s Prayer.

I thought I would offer a quick list of suggestions for leaders in the church who wish to lead better in a ministry of prayer-- both praying for others, and teaching others to pray.

  • The Praying Church Sourcebook by Alvin J. Vander Griend with Edith Bajema-- what a great book on leading a church in prayer, including more than 30 different strategies for increasing the opportunities and commitment to prayer in a congregation, and dozens of stories and anecdotes about prayer in various settings and contexts.
  • The Praying Church Idea Book by Douglas A. Kamstra-- the companion volume to the above, this one is even better-- a resource of methods for prayer (more than 40), essays about the leader’s prayer life, ideas for prayer ministry, ideas for prayer in small groups and other group settings, help for prayer retreats, and 49 different ideas for prayer in worship. These two volumes should be in every pastor’s library.
  • Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Ministers by Hughes Oliphant Old-- Dr. Old has dedicated his long and fruitful career and ministry toward studying worship and its leadership, and in this fine (and thick!) volume, he unpacks a lifetime of wisdom about leading in prayer in the context of public worship. Incredibly valuable, and every page offers a nuance, insight, or challenge that will benefit your ministry. (I’m reading it now and getting humbled.)
  • Equipping the Church for Kingdom Praying by Barbara Thompson-- a workbook of sorts, published by the PCA’s Christian Education and Publications department, that is practical and helpful in leading a congregation toward an increased commitment to corporate prayer. This book includes a good essay on the private use of the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Spurgeon’s Prayers-- this little volume (published by Christian Focus) is a great asset for prayer leadership. For one, Spurgeon’s prayers are beautiful, rich, and timeless; I’ve borrowed from these from time to time, and continue to do so. For another, there are two additional elements that alone would be worthy of purchase: a lecture entitled, “The Golden Key of Prayer” and a section at the end called, “Prayer meetings-- as they were and as they should be.” Valuable insight into prayer from this great ancestor of the faith.
  • Earth & Altar: The Community of Prayer in a Self-Bound Society by Eugene Peterson-- in classic Peterson style, this book offers a view of community and spirituality that is contrary to much of what is employed in our culture and society today. While this isn’t a book written specifically for leadership, it is a valuable read for leaders, especially pastors, as we need to lead our congregations toward more prayerful community.
  • Two Are Better than One by David Mains and Steve Bell-- here’s a little guide to making “prayer partnerships” more effective. There is a lot of experience and wisdom from these men, who offer much helpful counsel toward effective prayer and accountability relationships. Be careful of applying this too legalistically, but otherwise a good find.
  • Leadership Prayers by Richard Kriegbaum-- here’s a book that is written in a devotional style, with a prayer and a reflection for each of 30 different categories. This one was written for leaders in the business world, and thus some of the prayers don’t really fit into the church (such as marketing); still, there is a lot to find here.
Books with help on the Lord’s Prayer:
  • Philip G. Ryken, When You Pray, is exclusively devoted toward learning prayer from the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Jerram Barrs, The Heart of Prayer-- the first several chapters of this book deal with learning prayer from Christ through the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Evan B. Howard, Praying the Scriptures, has two chapters on praying the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Matthew Henry’s A Method for Prayer has a chapter on praying the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Richard Foster’s Prayer has a good, if small, section given to the Lord’s Prayer.

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